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Showing posts from December, 2007

Merry Christmas

Whether you celebrate now, have already celebrated your past holiday, are planning to, or not, I hope you find yourself surrounded by family and those you love during this holiday season and are able to remember fondly those who are not with you.

We often find ourselves buried in work, or too distracted by other problems, to share and remember a few moments with those closest to us. So many of us are separated by huge distances, we often find it easier to focus on those who are out of arm's reach yet so easy to connect with online, instead of those who are right beside us.

So do yourself a favour, put down the keyboard (stylus, mouse, etc) and spend that time. I know I will.

Merry Christmas.


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Where is Sedna?

OK - this is getting a little long now...unless Microsoft is saving it as a Christmas gift for December 24th. It's now been 1 month since the release of XSource for SP2, 2 months since the dbi Controls have been available, 2 months since the release of SP2, 3 months since I spoke with Rick/Doug who thought everything was on track for Sedna, 6 months since the last beta (even though Doug has been posting bits and pieces) and still we don't have the new pieces.

I thought maybe it would be a stealth upload to Codeplex but no. All that's there is the slow but steady updates to VFPX.

Lisa's doing missing documentation...and I'm sure most of the Fox team has gone off to their other new areas...but surely someone is still at home getting ready to put Sedna to bed...anyone?

Concentric Hosting is Currently Down

I currently manage 4 sites that are hosted by Concentric - around 12 or possibly 11:30 EST, their servers shut down for unknown reasons, affecting http, email and other services.

I saw that on twitter, other XO sites may have also been affected.

I finally got through to Support after an hour. Of course, their support team don't have much knowledge nor an ETA for the resolution.

About an hour ago, all sites were erroring with Site Not Found errors - the Concentric.com site is now reporting a 500 Server Error - Could not connect to VFS server. So I guess that's some progress.

This just p*sses me off. You can't even get to a site to find out what is happening but once I do find out, I'll post it here.

Of course, at this stage, I can't even redirect the DNS to another site - since they manage it. Or can I? Any ideas?

I suppose this isn't so bad - it's only the second time in 10 years I've had this problem but still what a pain and I've got clients who use som…

On Automated vs. Human Testing

A lot of people are pointing to Joel Spolsky's Talk at Yale: Part 1 of 3

and it's a great read. If you read it further, I guess closer to the end of Part 1, he makes some very valuable comments on automated testing and the need for human intervention, using Vista as an example:

Speaking of the old approach to testing - "they spent a lot of time making sure that the user interface was consistent from one part of the product to another, because a consistent user interface is easier to use than an inconsistent one."

And because of the reliance on automated scripts - "And so one result of the new emphasis on automated testing was that the Vista release of Windows was extremely inconsistent and unpolished. Lots of obvious problems got through in the final product… none of which was a “bug” by the definition of the automated scripts, but every one of which contributed to the general feeling that Vista was a downgrade from XP. "

"nobody wrote the automated test t…

Crystal Reports 2008 ?? - Really???

Craig points out that Crystal has a new version and in his words, Crystal Reports 2008 -- Don't bother

It's really sad to see companies start ending their support of technology that so many other companies have built their solutions around. Certainly you can't hope to have every technology around forever (I built my first Excel solution using DDE in Windows 2.1) but I find Crystal (er, Business Objects) sometimes makes decisions that are mind-boggingly dumb.

Case in point, Crystal 10 had a nice easy to use Prompt for Parameters. In Crystal 11, this was reproduced by a more web-like interface. Sure, it looked great - but one problem: the customers I had were working in a secure environment where every app that wanted access to an internet page was prompted for security. Not only that, Crystal 11 also used JavaScript heavily - a solution that was disabled for most of the regular end-users.

So while CR 11 may have had these great features, it caused more problems than it was wo…

Cathy Pountney: Workaround for Data Group bug

Cathy's posting a workaround for the bug she reported earlier with Visual FoxPro SP2 but the deafening silence from the Redmond camp is kind of annoying. We all looked forward to having a single solid release of VFP from which we could build solutions around - but one that wouldn't be introduce major new problems from previous versions.

Cathy Pountney: Gotcha: Workaround for Data Group bug

Now I suppose one could argue "why didn't this come up in the beta test" but this brings to bear the entire issue of a "public" vs. "private" beta. In my mind, with a Private Beta, users are far more likely to be critical of functionality and not bring on a list of "I want" items. Sure there will be a few - but most developers and users I know of in "private betas" are well-aware that by the time a product goes into "Beta" - the feature list has been locked down and now it's time to fix bugs.

When you release a "public be…